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All Blacks will play Barrett - Cheika

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    11 Aug 2018     Getty Images

While momentum has been growing in New Zealand, in some quarters, for Richie Mo'unga to be given a chance after his work with the successful Crusaders in Investec Super Rugby, Cheika said he didn't believe Barrett would be displaced.

"It doesn't really concern me I suppose but what I do know is this – Beauden Barrett has been the best player in world rugby for the last two years in a row and he's an exceptional player," Cheika told Australian media.

"I've coached teams that have felt his wrath personally and his skill and ability."

Cheika ran into Mo'unga recently while holidaying in Fiji and had a chat with him.

"He's a lovely young fella but Barrett's class and I think there's no doubt he's a player the All Blacks value very much and he'll be out there next Saturday," he said.

Cheika said he had been surprised by comments made by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen regarding the Wallabies securing favouritism for the Sydney Test.

"Hansen's a fine coach, he's obviously a great rugby mind, he's leading the team as the best in the world.

"He's a great coach but I think he may have had that one wrong because I don't think many of his players would believe it to be honest," he said.

Favouritism was for the bookies and was irrelevant so far as the game was concerned, he said.

Cheika added that he didn't think it was part of a psychological agenda.

"Sometimes you say stuff and go 'Maybe I shouldn't have said that, or whatever'. I don't think it's a big deal, it's not like they're going on about it.

"I don't think it's very realistic. I don't think his own blokes would believe it, so maybe that's what they didn't say it again after the presser," he said.